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This guide provides help finding sources for the Winter 2020 SOCI 315 Final Research Assignment.


Please refer to your assignment instructions for additional requirements and details.

Part A: Finding Articles

You need two peer-reviewed articles to complete Part A of your assignment.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It can take years to get published, so you may need to explore related areas of research rather than your specific, more current topic. For instance, search for research on public reactions to pandemics like H1N1 or Ebola rather than Coronavirus (COVID-19), which likely won't appear in any peer-reviewed sources yet. You will use this older research to inform a study on your new area of investigation!

Watch One Perfect Source for additional clarity on how to approach your topic when searching. 

Useful databases for finding articles for this class include:

For additional options, visit the Library's Find a Database list.

Database Keyword Searcing Tips:

  • Use "Quotes" for phrases:
    • "social media" "content analysis" "facial recognition" "First Nations"
  • Use AND between words to find different concepts:
    • "eating disorders" AND blogs AND identity
  • Use OR between words to find similar concepts/synonyms:
    • teens OR teenagers OR adolescents OR adolescence OR youth
    • "social media" OR Facebook OR Twitter OR Instagram

Examples combining these techniques:
 ("social media" OR Facebook OR Twitter OR Instagram) AND "content analysis" AND (SARS OR H1N1 OR pandemic OR ebola)

(news OR journalism) AND (SARS OR H1N1 OR pandemic OR ebola)

Watch the Library's tutorial "1.5 Search Language" to learn more about database searching. 


Engaging with the Literature - Some Tips


Limit Results

When searching, use the search facets to the left of results to limit to peer-reviewed (scholarly) journals.

Also limit by publication date (e.g., 2010-2020) to find more recent works.

Find the Most Relevant Studies

Aim to locate the two most relevant articles on your topic. To do this, try the following:

  • Modify your keywords and try a variety of Library databases (noted above).
  • As you search, initially just skim through the titles and abstracts of articles that look interesting rather than reading entire works.
  • Once you find one useful article, look at its reference list to see if it cites other relevant studies you can use. (Search for these referenced works by title in the main Library search to see if we have access.)
  • Add "content analysis" to your keyword search terms. There may be an existing study similar to the one you are embarking on that you can build on. (If there isn't, that's OK too because your study will serve to fill a gap in what we know about your topic.)

Final Two Articles - Checklist

The two articles you use in your assignment should meet the following criteria:

  • Publication date: Published in the last ten years. You want to build on the latest, greatest findings in your area of interest. 
  • Peer-reviewed: Published in an academic journal that has other academics review research before it is published. Using Library databases (see above) is the easiest way to locate these works. 
  • Original research: Articles should be reporting results from an original research study rather than only providing a review of other people's research. The format of these articles will be similar to Part B of your assignment, with an intro, methods section, results, discussion, and references.
  • Relevance: This varies by topic. Ultimately, just try to find articles most relevant to your topic. For instance, an article reporting results of a study on social media reactions to H1N1 will be much more relevant than a study on medical treatments. If you're focusing on Twitter reactions, try to find other studies that investigated Twitter if you can. If you are focusing on Canada, or North America, try to find studies that did the same. 
Watch Peer Review in 3 Minutes to learn more about why peer-reviewed articles are considered reliable sources to inform your own research.


APA Citations

In both Part A and Part B of your assignment, be sure to reference your sources in APA format.

Citations should follow this example:

In-text: (Sunga, 2017, p. 138).
Reference entry:

Sunga, S. (2017). Dealing with oppression: Indigenous relations with the state in Canada. Ethics & Social Welfare11(2), 135-148. doi:10.1080/17496535.2017.1293118


For more information and examples, visit the Library's APA Citation Guide.

Part B: Data Source Considerations

Social Media Platforms

News Sites


If doing a content analysis of user comments on news stories, try searching and browsing individual news websites like CBC News and the Edmonton Journal.

The following databases allow you to search across news stories in multiple news sources at one time:

Need Help?

Need immediate research help? Have a quick question?

Use Library Chat to consult online with a librarian who can help with finding and citing appropriate sources. 

Not finding any articles on your topic?

Email, or select Book with Robyn to set up an appointment by phone or video conferencing with the Sociology subject librarian. 

Need writing help?

Schedule an online meeting with a tutor by contacting

Questions about the assignment and how to do a content analysis?

Contact your instructor.

This work is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International license. For exceptions, see the Library Copyright Statement.